With the beginning of March comes a national recognition and celebration of women, with Women’s History Month.
Whether you’re a full-time teacher or a substitute teacher helping to execute lesson plans, or seeking ways to increase your own knowledge, check out our comprehensive guide to teaching about Women’s History Month to students of all ages.
- Who do I admire? Teach students about inspirational women and have them choose one to write about. Their hero can be from history, from modern times, or even someone from their everyday life. By the end of this lesson, students will have read and understood historical biographies about famous women, written a response to the reading, and created an original piece of art.
- African American Women and the Civil Rights Movement: Show your class this short webinar and guide them through the discussion questions as they learn about the famous African American women who were the backbone of the modern Civil Rights Movement.
- Bell-ringer activity: Short on time but want to end class on a teaching moment? Give students this quick word search, and then brainstorm additional topical words that could be added to a new puzzle.
- Create a research pennant project: Make learning fun (and interactive!) with this fun spin on a research project. Have students choose a historical female figure to focus on and create a pennant to represent her life and achievements. After everyone has presented, decorate the classroom with their art!
- Women on stamps: Learn about all the women in history who have been featured on US postage stamps. Then, have students create their own stamps of women who haven’t been featured yet.
Kamala Harris: Rooted in Justice — Nikki Grimes
This book illustrates the background of the first woman, first Black person, and first South Asian American to serve as Vice President of the United States.
Think Big, Little One — Vashti Harrison
Introducing 18 trailblazing women (artists, inventors, writers, scientists!), this board book can inspire young girls to become whatever they want to be.
Malala’s Magic Pencil — Malala Yousafzai
Written by the youngest recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize, Malala shares the story of her childhood in Pakistan and her mission to make the world a more peaceful place.
Elizabeth Started All the Trouble — Doreen Rappaport
Teach your students about Elizabeth Cady Stanton, a champion in the fight for a women’s right to vote.
She Persisted: 13 American Women Who Changed the World — Chelsea Clinton
Learn about trailblazers such as Helen Keller, Sally Ride, and Sonia Sotomayor and they paved the way to a better future by pushing through barriers.
For more suggested reading, check out weareteachers.com and PBS.
- Study female poets to understand history: Help your students rewrite history by unveiling the female perspective. Have students choose a poem and decipher the meaning and context of it. Be sure to provide historical context if necessary.
- Create your own museum: Students will research a woman or group of women to build out a museum exhibit showcasing what they learned. Students will then present their exhibition at a “gallery opening”.
- BrainPOP’s Women’s History Unit: Personalize the learning experience using BrainPOP’s massive collection of free movies, texts, games, and lessons on famous women in history. You can base a whole unit on it, or ask students to each select a woman from the list and complete (and share!) the activities included.
- Take a virtual field trip: While the National Women’s History Museum exists solely online, they have an extensive collection of virtual exhibits to explore on topics such as women in STEM and in the Olympics.
Lucky Broken Girl — Ruth Behar
Based on true events from the author’s life, this coming-of-age narrative shares the story of a young Cuban-Jewish immigrant girl adjusting to her new life in New York City.
Marley Dias Gets it Done: And So Can You! — Marley Dias
Written by “girl-wonder” Marley Dias who started the #1000blackgirlbooks campaign speaks to kids about her passion about making the world a better place.
Little Women — Lousia May Allcott
A true and timeless classic. A book for women of all ages, share this with students to go on a journey with four of the most iconic sisters in the literary world.
Piecing Me Together — Renee Watson
A sweet coming of age story depicting the experiences of a young Black woman as she strives for success in a world that often seems like it’s trying to break her.
Women in Sports: 50 Fearless Athletes Who Played to Win — Rachel Ignotofsky
A richly illustrated and inspiring book highlighting the achievements and stories of 50 notable athletes from the 1800s to today.
- Podcast club: Explore women history makers and industry experts with a Women’s History podcast club. Assign a podcast episode and discuss or have each student pick their own and share their findings.
- Writing prompts: Use these 12 writing prompts to spur discussion on women’s rights, historical figures, and the women who play pivotal roles in their everyday lives.
- Playlist: Focus on pop culture and have students create playlists featuring their favorite female musicians. Be sure to do a quick history lesson on the trailblazing women that set the stage for modern day artists.
The Hate You Give — Angie Thomas
A powerful novel that inspired an award-winning film that deals with topical issues of racism, feminism, and gun violence.
A Hope More Powerful Than the Sea — Melissa Fleming
An emotionally-charged, eye-opening true story that represents the voices of unheard refugees.
The Radical Element: 12 Stories of Daredevils, Debutantes, and Other Dauntless Girls — Jessica Spotswood
A fictional anthology of learning to love and respect yourself as a young woman, in spite of all the obstacles that inevitably stand in your way.
While March is a great time to shine a spotlight on women, it is important to incorporate these lessons all year round. Young women deserve to see themselves represented in lesson plans, and all students can benefit from a well-rounded education. Take this month as an opportunity to reset and incorporate diverse perspectives into the classroom.